Congressional briefing will focus on legislative and regulatory policy options

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) announces the second in a series of two briefings on mercury contamination.

Alexandria, Va., March 4, 2003 -- The Water Environment Federation (WEF) announces the second in a series of two briefings on mercury contamination.

The first briefing held Friday, February 28, focused on the basics of mercury contamination in the United States.

"What We Know About Mercury: Sources, Deposition, Methylation and Health Effects - Part II" is scheduled for March 7, 2003 in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building (House Science Committee Room) from 1 :00- 2:30 p.m., will focus on legislative and regulatory policy options being proposed to deal with the issue.

Co-sponsored by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the Northeast Midwest Congressional Coalition, and in cooperation with the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program, the second briefing will feature a discussion by Dr. Larry Parker, Specialist on Energy and Environmental Policy, Congressional Research Service and Ellen Brown, Policy Advisor in the USEPA's Office of Policy, Analysis, and Review (OPAR). Dr. Parker's discussion will focus on legislative proposals on Capitol Hill, including the Administration's Clear Skies Initiative.

Brown, who is heavily involved in the Clear Skies legislation and in the Utility MACT, will explain the science of mercury and rulemaking. Steve Wordelman (Jones and Henry Engineers, Ltd.), Chair of WEF's Government Affairs Committee, will moderate the session.

Mercury is the leading cause of impairment in U.S. lakes and estuaries as established by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Water Quality Inventory for 2002. Forty-nine states issued 2, 618 fish advisories for mercury in 2001.

In light of this information about the increasingly serious extent of mercury contamination in the nation's waters and in the food chain, several national policy options are being considered to reduce the release of mercury into the environment.

The Administration has proposed its Clear Skies approach for limiting mercury emissions from power plants, the so-called "Four-Pollutant Bill" would limit emissions to an even greater degree. The EPA is planning to issue a proposed rule to regulate mercury emissions from power plants on December 15, 2003 and issue a final rule a year later.

Time will be reserved for a question and discussion period. The briefing will be open to the public and no reservations are necessary. For more information, please visit www.wef.org and and contact Jill Raynor Lane at jraynorlane@wef.org.

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with members from varied disciplines who work toward the WEF vision of preservation and enhancement of the global water environment. The WEF network includes water quality professionals from 79 Member Associations in 32 countries.

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